On my initial trip to Franklin Canyon Park, I wanted to try to do a large loop that linked the southern and northern portions of the park together – but I was thwarted by some confusing maps and unsigned trails. Instead, I split my trip into two separate loop hikes.
This northern loop is shorter, flatter, and generally pretty easy all-around. For the purposes of this write up, I started on the ranch trail near the intersection of Lake Drive and Franklin Canyon Drive, but you could pretty much hop onto this loop from anywhere along the route. Parking is very limited at this intersection, but there’s plenty of room further north or south.
If you start at this intersection, across the street from the old building there’s a short wooden bridge over a creekbed. Cross it and continue climbing up into the shaded forest.
In a very short distance – about 225 feet – this spur trail intersects with the Ranch Trail at a sharp corner. Bear left to follow the trail north, parallel with Franklin Canyon Drive.
Ignore the trail to your left at around the 0.3 mile mark and continue on the Ranch Trail until you end up at a street crossing near one of the park’s many motion-sensor traffic cameras.
Cross the intersection straight ahead toward the information sign and you’ll end up right along the shore of Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir.
Also, if you’ve got a hankering to recreate the opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show, now’s the time to do it.
This path loops around the north side of the lake and leaves the shore on the west bank to rejoin the road after making its way through a small grove of evergreens. From here, you can cross the street and make a very short loop around Heavenly Pond, another favorite hangout for the local duck population.
After returning from Heavenly Pond, rejoin Franklin Canyon Drive and head south. You can either rejoin the trail at the intersection or just follow the road back to the intersection with Lake Drive.
He has also been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and the Associated Press, as well as in documentaries for Columbia Sportswear and the OTIS College of Art and Design.
Casey was one of eight people chosen by the National Parks Foundation to participate in the 2015 Find Your Park Expedition. His first book "Day Hiking Los Angeles," will be published by Mountaineers Books in 2016.
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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on October 12, 2012